Diagrams, or visual representations of information in poster form (sometimes called infographics), can often be used by a teacher to present information for learners in a way which is easier to understand when compared to just text. And learners may often wish to present information in a visual graphical form in order to demonstrate their understanding of information. But what tool can be used to help create these diagrams, posters or infographics – and where can ideas be found to give examples of effective infographics?
eLearning Infographics – this site provides a host of examples of education-related infographics or graphical visual displays of information. These can help provide exemplars for learners creating their own infographics, to provide inspiration for a learner’s own creation with the information they wish to present in a visual form.
7 Ways to use graphics for learning – a post by Mike Taylor on the E-learning Heroes blog which sets out 7 different ways in which graphics can be used, which he identifies as representational, mnemonics, organisational, ralational, transformational, interpretive, and decorative. Each examples of each type of graphic is accompanied by a description and explanation. This post can be helpful for learners looking for ideas in creating their own infographics.
12 reasons to implement a visual marketing campaign – while not aimed at the education section the infographic, and the information contained in it, relate to why educators would want to consider using an infographic, the reasons they are effective for those reading them.
The Power of Visuals in eLearning – a post on the eLearning Infographics site which sets out the reasons for the use of visuals in education and impact they can have on learners, and their grasp of information.
Inventing Infographics: Visual Literacy Meets Written Content. This post by Brett Vogelsinger sets out how in the course of his teaching career he moved from a position where he thought better literacy was more text, to a point where his experience led him to believe more in-depth understanding was conveyed when learners had to translate text into visual form infographics.
What tools are available to create infographics?
Canva – a free online tool for creating mini-posters from a range of templates. You can upload your own images, choose from a range of templates, add text, and download as either pdf or image png format
VisMe – a free online infographic creator which includes hosts of templates and graphics and from which can download resulting visuals or embed elsewhere online. The free account lets users create three infographic posters.
Poster My Wall – a free to use online poster creation tool (which also has premium features). There are a host of templates from which you can start your poster. There are hosts of pre-created backgrounds, images and layouts, all of which you can adapt to your needs. You can also upload your own images, backgrounds and text. And you can use a variety of editing tools to let you customise your images or text boxes to blend with the background in exactly the way you want. The completed poster can be saved online if you create a free account (so you can edit it later) or downloaded without saving. The free version has a watermark with the text PosterMyWall.com in a corner, and the quality is good enough for printing or sharing online, though if you require a crisper higher quality print version then you can pay for a better quality download. There are school-specific templates and there is a also a free teacher account version – this means that a teacher can sign up and have pupils in a private online class area use the tool without the need for them to register, and where their posters are kept private and with no adverts.
Easel.ly – free online infographic creator tool which comes complete with a wide range of templates all of which can be adapted to suit your needs. You can upload your own graphics, as well as use a range of those available within the tool. Completed infographics can be downloaded as an image or pdf without need for registration, though registration would be required if you wished to store infographics for later editing.
Draw.io is a free online tool for creating diagrams. Whether you are looking to create flowcharts, infographics, posters, explanatory diagrams, step-by-step guides to tasks or activities or chart then Draw.io is an extremely versatile free online tool with a host of features.
Features include large range of shape libraries, export to image formats PNG/GIF/JPG as well as export to pdf or XML/SVG, Google Drive Integration, and use on any HTML 5 browser.
Draw.io will work on computers or on mobile devices. It has a host of banks of graphics (such as secifically for flowcharts, or for mock-up buttons or screen elements seen on different user interfaces for mobile devices or PCs, or basic image types such as arrows, boxes, tables, connectors, and more). Text can also be added and formatted as required.
Each item can be added to the screen, resized, rotated, the line type, thickness and colour changed, shape fill applied (by colour or gradient direction), and each object can be connected to others by a variety of connectors – with connectors moving as objects are moved.
Draw.io has a a bank of templates (from File – new – from template) which lets users get started on the type of diagram they require very quickly.
There is a search facility to quickly find any object from within the graphics banks or indeed from a Google search built into the tool. Objects on the screen can be moved as required and their relationship in layers with other objects adjusted as required.
Click here to view a video which serves as both an introduction to Draw.io as well as a guide to how to a variety of features.
Information is Beautiful – a host of examples of visual graphic posters displaying data on a range of topics as infographics which can serve as a starting point for creating your own infographics.
Infographics Made Simple – a blogpost by Miguel Guhlin with very helpful hints and links to resources for finding images and icons online which are able to be re-used, and showing how to cite them appropriately, as well as links to tools (including templates ready to use in PowerPoint) and examples of created infographics in an education context.